SEATTLE, Wash.--Heading into the season the Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team had one match on the schedule that stuck out above the rest: a September 6 contest against NCAA Div. II power Seattle Pacific. But after a 1-0 loss to the Falcons, in which the Cougars were out-shot 20-8 , it seems likely that that once heralded matchup will quickly be a forgotten night by year’s end.
Azusa Pacific, which dominated the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) scene over the past decade and a half, put just four shots on goal, falling to 1-2 to mark the first time since 2000 that the Cougars held a losing record after three matches.
Heidi Witschi was dangerous, putting both of her two shots on goal, while senior forward Natalie Sun and freshman Cassidy Burr finished with two shots, placing one on frame.
Seattle Pacific opened the scoring in the 22nd minute when Heather Young took a pass from Riley Dopps deep in the box and headed it left post past Wieland from just five yards out for her second goal of the season. Wieland recorded a career-high nine saves in the match, facing 10 shots-on-goal from Seattle Pacific (2-1).
In the first half the Falcons dominated play. The Cougars were held to just two shots compared to Seattle Pacific’s 14, which included seven on frame. The Falcons controlled possession, registering the first eight shots before Jacqueline Conforto attempted one in the 30th minute with the Cougars already trailing.
But after the initial ambush in the first half from the home team, the Cougars began to settle in. Over the final 45 minutes Azusa Pacific matched the Falcons shot-for-shot, and put four on target compared to three for Seattle Pacific.
Burr had the first opportunity early in the half, but her 51st minute shot was stopped by Natalie Harold, who finished with four saves. On the ensuing play Natalie Nick sent a ball into the box off a set piece, with Sun on the other end. Sun headed it towards the back of the net before Harold came in for the block in the 53rd.
Five minutes later Sun got off another attempt, but sailed it over the cross bar prior to Witschi having shots saved in the 63rd and then again in the 67th. The Cougars’ final look of the night came in the 73rd minute when Conforto had her attempt travel right of the post.
Azusa Pacific will get back on the field on Saturday at 2 p.m. when the team travels to Bellingham for a match with Western Washington. The Cougars are 0-1 all-time against Western Washington, losing 2-0 on the road in 1994.